It may be appalling to watch high school students or college kids getting wasted. And it's easy to wonder how grown adults can cling to a habit as destructive as alcoholism. But drinking in excess has an important role in our culture. For many people, alcohol plays its first important role as a social lubricant. People who are shy discover their outgoing side under the influence of alcohol. People who feel the need to fill every moment of silence with talk can suddenly find peace by being quiet. Uncoordinated individuals dance, and folks who lack a sense of humor are able to laugh.

For young people, alcohol provides an excuse for exploring another side of their personality. This isn't necessarily a positive endeavor because clearly it implies that the inclinations that dominate their social interactions aren't “good enough”. But, nonetheless, it seems natural for young people to partake in exploratory behaviors like these. The unfortunate reality is that through these natural explorations, a number of young people find that beyond the social insecurities lie more nefarious existential dilemmas that haunt them from dusk til dawn. Alcohol can be a panacea that, (at first) can provide a shield against confronting these existential problems.

As with most addictions , the benefits of alcoholism motivate alcoholics to continue with binges. A number of people regard alcoholism as a disease for which there may be a medical sort of cure someday and perhaps it is. Some people regard alcoholism more like a spiritual crisis that can be remedied to some by Twelve Step Groups and the acknowledgment of a Higher Power. Some people regard alcoholism as both a disease and a spiritual crisis. But what if alcoholism and cancer and diabetes are both disease and spiritual crisis wrapped up into one thing? What if all disease develops in response to an innate human need for spirituality? Our understanding of disease and addiction is still relatively primitive and perhaps we've only been able to see the effects of spirituality on the disease of alcoholism and other “diseases” of addiction. Perhaps cancer could be cured through Twelve Step Programs similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. Perhaps disease and spiritual crisis are one in the same, rather than separate things that happen alongside one another sometimes.

We look at alcoholism and addiction as a disease of the Will wherein addicts might overcome their “disease” through the proper application of the Will. The problem of Free Will rears its ugly head in social situations as people age out of college binge drinking and graduate back into family living. Family members who love the alcoholic wish they could take away the addict's Free Will in order to “save” the alcoholic from physical self-destruction. It seems that the alcoholic just can't seem to make the right choices about drinking. Ironically, for family members as well as addicts, it is at the intersection of Hope and Totally Giving Up that alcoholism, cancer, and other major diseases seem to make the most sense. When you stop trying to be different than you are or to make things different than they are and accept things the way they are in reality, the need for any disease either becomes clear or goes away completely. In both instances, the opportunity to heal becomes clear.

As with college students, when we can accept a personal tendency to be shy or to snort when we laugh, it's no longer necessary to drink in order to “seem different” than we are. By accepting a personal inclination toward drinking too much alcohol, a person suddenly becomes empowered.

Whether you've reached the intersection where you've decided to accept yourself or someone else as an alcoholic, it can help to reach out to others who can help you stay centered. Below are links to online therapy and programs that are available online to help individuals accept themselves and the world the way things actually are:

Online addiction counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at

This website provides a comprehensive list of treatment facilities and intervention programs

A list of traditional, face-to-face Twelve Step Programs is available at

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